What A Sexual Assault Survivor Thinks About Women’s ‘Rape’ Fantasies

Photo: ChickenSmoothie
What A Sexual Assault Survivor Thinks About Rape Fantasies
Buzz, Heartbreak

We can talk about both, but there's a time and place.

You could hear a pin drop in the room. With all eyes on me, the intensity of the moment could be cut with a knife.

I had been invited by a state university to be a keynote speaker about sex trafficking from the perspective of a survivor of family trafficking.

Most people there had never met an actual sexual assault survivor — at least, not that they were aware of. I could tell from the hushed tones that they were curious about many things having to do with the overriding topic of rape.

I was called to the podium to give my story.

For twenty minutes, no one said a word as they listened. My hands trembled and my voice quaked, but with resolve to shed light on a problem facing more than 20.9 million human trafficking victims in the world — 79 percent for whom the trafficking is sexual in nature — I continued on and shared my painful story.

This wasn't my first time opening up about the sexual abuse I've endured, but I was still new to the experience of discussing it in public.

The first time I had spoken out publicly was shortly after I realized I was more than a childhood sexual abuse survivor.

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I had interviewed a sex trafficking survivor leader for a radio show several months before, and as she shared her story, memories I had as a child that once confused me started to make sense. With her help, I realized what I experienced was not only sexual abuse but a form of human trafficking.

She and other survivors had begun sharing their stories in public in order to bring greater awareness of the issue. I started sharing mine, too. Sharing her story brought her national attention. Sharing mine brought me a unique awareness of human nature — that the moment people hear someone start talking about something they've never experienced, especially if it involves sex, curiosity follows. 

I'm well aware that it's human nature to be curious, especially about taboo sex.

But I didn't expect to trigger sexual arousal in others when talking about my experience.

And I was well aware I could become exploited in some new way, so I knew better than to share precise details of what had happened. I had observed how other sexual abuse survivors were asked questions that felt violating during interviews, leaving them triggered for weeks. I had also witnessed opportunists try to make money by pushing survivors to share their stories rather than asking them to help in other ways for the sake of the cause.

I wanted to promote awareness. I wanted people to know this DID happen, so that others, specifically victims still in silence, could be helped. Maybe there was another survivor in the audience, who, like me, didn't understand the confusion of their memories, and then suddenly realized my story was their story, too.

It's not uncommon for sex trafficking survivors and sexual abuse survivors to go without telling a single soul until one day find themselves in a situation in which they can open up free from judgment to another person who has experienced the same pain.

A key reason I tell others my story is that some survivors get stuck in their own doubts about their personal experience. It's too frightening for them to believe, and too real for them to accept. For those who have never experienced any form of sexual abuse, it is crucial to understand that when you hear survivors share their story, you help by making their experiences tangible. 

But I didn't expect the questions I was asked after I shared my story — by women.

Questions like:

  • "What were you wearing?"
  • "How many times a day did it happen?"
  • "What positions did you use?"
  • "Did you ever like it?"

Of course, these questions revealed more about the people asking them than about the serious problem I came to discuss.

I learned that many women fantasize about being raped, but they don't know how to talk about these fantasies in healthy ways because they are told their fantasies are "wrong." So when they meet someone who has experienced the closest thing they've heard to their own secret fantasy, they are wildly curious.

We all have fantasies. Some women fantasize about a big house or a making it to the top of a career. Other women fantasize about having a giant walk-in closet with unlimited shoe space or being the first woman to walk on Mars.

Fantasies are pulled from the things around us and driven by what we need to feel and fulfill inside of us. As a woman, I understand wanting to feel like a man desires me so much that he is consumed by his love, and I believe that this desire is at the core of most rape fantasies, and why women may want to role play it with their lover.

But there's a right time, place, and person to ask questions what it's like to experience that. 

Being raped and having a rape fantasy are not the same thing.

Your kinky sex life is safe — it's something that brings you and your man together. A little role play adds spice to the bedroom, no question.

There's nothing wrong with being as kinky as you or as you are not as long as consenting adults are involved.

You've always wanted to have your lover so consumed by his passion for you, that he can't control himself. Without asking your permission — since you have expressly told him this is your fantasy and given him permission to initiate it at will — he grabs you, pulls you close, and you ALLOW him to overpower you with his manhood. You want it. You need it.

I get it.

And there's a difference.

Role play fulfills your sexual wants and desires, which are totally normal and completely OK.The problem is that when you don't know how to discuss this fantasy safely with others, you may explore your fantasy outside of the bedroom in an unhealthy way.

When you try to explore it in uninvited conversation with rape survivors, you complicate the entire discussion of rape, the objectification of women, and rape culture.

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Not knowing how to talk about sexual fantasies in a healthy way can inadvertently undermine the deep need we all have to feel safe — and to be believed when rape does happen. 

Sexual fantasies are normal. If they weren't, there'd be no 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon to support the theory that many women are interested in power-exchange role play. 

We need a safe space in our society for open, non-judgmental dialogue about the sexual power play between equal, consenting adults.

Perhaps there should be a new word for the type of forceful play that men and women want in the bedroom other than "rape." More constructive sexual conversations would help both men and women release their fears of being judged for wanting — and LOVING — kinky, healthy, safe, sane and consensual sex.  

But please, don't ask me or any other rape survivor questions about our real life pain when what you are looking for are ideas about making it "real" in the privacy of your own bedroom. 

 

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